If you have not already, please read my previous post “How To Punch” before moving on to this post!
Who does not want to learn to punch harder? Punching hard is one of the most sought-after components of almost all Martial Arts or systems and actually it’s very easy to do.
What I am going to do here is talk about the key aspects of how to punch harder rather than the specific techniques and applications, which I will cover in future articles.
Also, I going to talk about it from an ‘ideal’ perspective and by ideal, I mean from a training one. Real combat is extremely nasty, dangerous and you will often find yourself in a ‘compromised’ position – back up against the wall, out of balance etc.
From the training perspective you can learn the full technique, with the correct balance and motion and from there, you can start to put it into practice.
How to punch seems a simple question as from childhood we learn what a punch is and often how to use it.
But as with anything else there is an optimal way of punching and this can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of the punch. Let’s stay away from Martial Arts for the moment and take a look one of the most recognized sports – boxing.
A boxer makes his living learning how to punch, that is of course if he a professional. When a boxer first enters the gym, he or she is taught how to stand, footwork, how to hold his or hands up in a defensive position and then how to throw the basic punches of a jab, cross, hook and uppercut.
So what we are talking about here are four very simple punches and a foundation of stance, footwork and then the last part of how to move – forward, back, left and right etc.
I am looking at this simplistically because learning how to punch is a very simple process, it’s the application of the punch or punching that is difficult. But lets get back to the boxing training.
It’s an interesting term – ‘Real Self Defense’, because you would naturally think that all self-defense would be ‘real’. So what does it mean exactly?
Well for me, ‘Real Self Defense’ is the self-defense that works, as obvious as that may sound, so why state the obvious?
Simply because a lot of what is out there simply doesn’t work and I don’t mean to be harsh here, but when we are talking self-defense, we are talking about protecting and saving lives so it has to be taken extremely seriously.
I see people from all walks of life in my personal teaching, classes and seminars and I see a wide range of other Martial Arts and systems and my goal is not to change what they do or know but to add to it and give them more options to work with.
Legend has it that an Indian Monk took Martial Arts to China and without going through all of the developments of Chinese Boxing, you had the establishment of the famous Shaolin Temple and if you haven’t watched the cult 1970’s television series Kung Fu, then you should!
There is also another theory that the Russians were involved in the start of Martial Arts Styles and that most of the Chinese Imperial bodyguards were indeed Russian.
So we can look at the origins of Martial Arts Styles and conclude that they started in the East and then spread throughout Asia, Russia and then to the West. So this has led to the development of many Martial Arts Styles.
What I would like you to understand here is just how relaxed I am and ‘loose’ the striking motion is, but yet I am still maintaining form and structure. A relaxed muscle is a fast one and you only have to look at top class boxers to see how fluid they are when they fight – look up some footage of Roy Jones in training and you will see just how fast he was and how devastating his combinations are.
Now Roy Jones was one of the greatest fighters around in his day and a lot can be learned just by watching his style – he was definitely a Ballistic Striker!!!!
When you try these strikes, make sure you work up slowly and surely – by that I mean look for precision and copy the motion I make in the clip. Stay relaxed, but alert and remember that these guys in the clips weigh around 280 pounds and are conditioned MMA fighters, your partner may not be able to take heavy strikes so always be careful.
To get the feel of the strike, place your fist on the point you are going to strike and simply push your partner – do this by extending the elbow from a bent position and allow your fist to penetrate into the body of your partner. This is how you strike in the simplest of forms and as you progress, you can work on different angles and directions, all of which affect your partner in different ways.
What I want you to takeaway from this clip is the relaxation of the body when performing the strike, the fluidity of movement and the fact that I am always trying to keep my weight centered and I feel that I am ‘sitting’ down on my legs to do so.
Notice in the first part how I am using one arm to make multiple strikes and I can tell you from personal experience that I have been grateful many times for the ‘free arm’ when having to deal with multiple attackers.
You can learn the same too – just work each arm separately and even get two partners working with you so you can learn to use the arms independently against more than one opponent. It is also important to get the ‘whip’ like effect and to not stop when you hit the target. Make sure you complete the motion.
Firstly in this clip you will see the all too typical start of a confrontation which is the famous ‘pushing contest’!
Now if you engage in this you are not gaining an advantage as each and every confrontation is a 50/50 gamble.
Because of the simple and unpredictable ‘cheap’ shot. It is that shot that will finish anyone as a chin is just a chin. It does not discriminate!
Look at how I diffuse the situation firstly and then how I deal with the attacker. Now I am working with some big guys here and if you are smaller, instead of pushing the hands down, you may have to push them up and this is where you have to abandon specific moves and just go with what is appropriate to you.
The one aspect I want you to pay particular attention to in this clip is movement and watch how I cut off the angles of the attacker as I move around. Also, look at how I deal with someone who is holding me and two others are approaching – I don’t want to focus on the non non immediate threat, only what may happen next and it is this anticipation that may save your life.
Remember it is your decision and not mine as it totally depends upon the situation, having said that, I give you many options on where to strike on the human body.
I would also like to stress that you cannot always try to be specific when striking points on the body because that in itself can cost you your own life potentially and I have personally seen people trying to be too ‘clever’ only to receive a beating.
The best approach to practice this is to work with your partner and practice precision until you can hit certain spots each and every time. Start with the major strike areas and then work to the more specific points. What I teach is easily incorporated into any art, not just mine provided you are prepared to work and practice.
I come from a ground fighting background having practiced both Combat Sambo and Judo to a very high standard and I am very comfortable on the ground, but I would never advise it in a street confrontation simply because you lose one dimension of the skills that you need and that is a compromised level of awareness.
I was teaching a seminar to a SWAT team in the USA and all of the guys were into MMA. One of the problems that they told me was difficult to handle was how to put handcuffs on a suspect while he was laying on the ground after two of them had wrestled him there.
These two guys were big and strong and it took them nearly five minutes to handcuff their ‘suspect’ who was another officer and couldn’t have weighed more that 170 pounds. I simply explained to them that while they were wrestling with him on the ground (two of them), the suspects friend was walking up behind them ready to pop both of the officers with a knife or gun.
In combat you absolutely have to be aware at all times and I know it sounds obvious, but I have seen many people winning a confrontation only to ‘not see’ the other guy coming at them from behind with a bottle or something more sinister.
You need to develop a wide range of vision and it is more than just peripheral. You have to imaging that you can literally ‘see behind you’. Before you say this is impossible and from a physical point it is, you must learn to develop your instinct or feeling.
There is no easy way to do this other than simply feeling aware of what is around you. How many people get out of bed in the night to go to the bathroom and stumble into a piece of furniture or stub their toes etc. Before you go to bed, take a ‘snapshot’ of the room and imaging that you have just planted a photograph in your head of the surroundings and then forget about it. Don’t dwell, just picture the room and go to sleep. When you have to wake up, you immediately access this photograph and then slowly and carefully walk around the room touching all of the objects that you have seen in the ‘photograph’. Your husband/wife/partner will think you are mental if they happen to wake, but this has a lot of use.